Greek Chorus

How did the role of the chorus develop and what purpose did it serve?

In the beginning...


What was the STRUCTURE of the chorus and how did it develop?

In Tragedy:

  • The poet/playwright Sophocles later increased the chorus to 15 members

In Comedy:

What's with the masks?

What was the PURPOSE of the chorus?

Really though, masks?


The Rise of the Actor

which led to THE RISE OF THE ACTOR!


Watch choruses from Trojan Women

Watch a chorus from Agamemnon






As things developed...


To provide exposition, or explain the scene

To comment on the action

To serve as spectacle (visual entertainment)

To describe offstage action

To interact with characters


That's right, eventually characters (or actors) show up in Greek theatre.


Watch a Greek choral ode

Watch a chorus from Oedipus at Colonus